President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto during a public rally at Thika Stadium on June 18, 2017. The politics of Kiambu County played out during the Jubilee tour as politicians jostled for attention. PHOTO |REBECCA NDUKU | DPPS
Kiambu politicians jostle for attention during Uhuru tour
Local politics played out during a tour by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto in Kiambu County on Sunday.
Thika Town MP Alice Ng’ang’a, the Jubilee candidate for the seat, was humiliated after supporters of her rival, independent candidate Patrick Wainaina, heckled her when she was called out by the DP to address the hundreds of supporters.
During the tour that saw the UhuRuto duo address roadside rallies all the way from Kiambu to Thika Town and at some stopovers, notably Kiambu and Ruiru, a few supporters of Governor William Kabogo showed up with his posters.
This was seen as an attempt by Mr Kabogo to flex his political muscle before the Jubilee leadership over the county’s gubernatorial campaigns.
Mr Kabogo is defending his seat as an independent candidate after losing the highly coveted Jubilee ticket to Kabete MP Ferdinand Waititu in one of the biggest defeats witnessed during the party nominations.
Mr Kabogo has been insisting that party leaders should not impose leaders on the people, but “should let them decide”.
Mr Kabogo did not attend the UhuRuto rallies, but other candidates for various seats from other parties were seen jostling for a photo opportunity with the Jubilee duo, mostly Mr Ruto, but were neither acknowledged nor introduced to the crowds.
The president, and the deputy, who played the role of the master of ceremonies, only introduced and drummed up support for Jubilee gubernatorial candidate Ferdinand Waititu, Senator Kimani Wamatangi, Gathoni Wamuchomba (woman rep candidate) MPs and MCA candidates under Jubilee Party and left the rest to play the role of escorts.
The Head of State rubbished anti-Jubilee candidates in the area, and asked the electorate to only vote for Jubilee candidates, saying they are the only leaders he wants to work with.
President Kenyatta said he never interfered with the Jubilee nominations, explaining that he wanted to give the electorate the opportunity to freely pick leaders of their choice.
“You are the people who gave us Waititu, chose Mr Wamatangi as your senator, Wamuchomba as the preferred woman representative choice and all the MP and MCA [candidates].
“Vote for them in August because before the primaries, I came here and said I would work with the people you will give us,” the president told a rally in Kiambu Town.
In Ruiru Town, where a few of Governor Kabogo’s supports were waving his posters at him, Mr Ruto, who in all the stopovers reiterated the president’s call for a six-piece-suit voting pattern, said Mr Kabogo should shelve his bid in support of Ms Waititu, adding that their government is big enough to accommodate him.
“Put these posters down, this (displaying of posters) is trivial compared to what we are here to say. Kabogo is my friend and we have come along away with him, and our government is big enough…we cannot lack a job opportunity for him. We will get something for him to do,” Mr Ruto said.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto address Kiambu Town residents on June 18, 2017 during their tour of Kiambu County. PHOTO | PSCU
The DP said Kiambu is the number one county for Jubilee, and would therefore predict the voting patterns in other Jubilee strongholds, saying if they pick leaders not in the party other regions would follow suit.
However, their efforts to campaign for Thika Town MP Alice Ng’ang’a, who is under siege from Mr Wainaina, were futile after the crowd defied their plea that they vote for her. They even heckled her when she was invited to speak.
Hell broke loose when the DP invited Mr Waititu, Mr Wamatangi, Ms Wamuchomba and Ms Ng’ang’a to address the crowd after he and the president had spoken, in what looked like a move to directly endorse them.
While Mr Waititu, Mr Wamatangi and Ms Wamuchomba were accorded a warm reception, Ms Ng’ang’a was heckled, with the shouting in favour Mr Wainaina, who was at the dais but was never recognised.
Prior to the arrival of the president and the DP, a plot to have him ejected from the dais was hatched by supporters of Ms Ng’ang’a, sucking in nominated Senator Beatrice Elachi, on the grounds that it was a Jubilee affair, which Mr Wainaina is not part of, but it flopped.
At some point, Mr Wainaina, popularly known as Jungle, was almost lifted out of his seat at the back of the presidential tent but was saved by shouting from the crowd.
During Jubilee primaries, Ms Ng’ang’a garnered 15,880 votes against Mr Wainaina’s 14,731 but has insisted that he was rigged out.